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Characteristics and Dynamics of a Large Sub-Tidal Sand Wave Field—Habitat for Pacific Sand Lance (Ammodytes personatus), Salish Sea, Washington, USA

1
SeaDoc Society, Tombolo Mapping Lab, 942 Deer Harbor Road, Eastsound, WA 98245, USA
2
Friday Harbor Labs, University of Washington, WA 98245, USA
3
U.S. Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geosciences 2017, 7(4), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7040107
Received: 15 August 2017 / Revised: 18 October 2017 / Accepted: 19 October 2017 / Published: 23 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Geomorphometry)
Deep-water sand wave fields in the San Juan Archipelago of the Salish Sea and Pacific Northwest Washington, USA, have been found to harbor Pacific sand lance (PSL, Ammodytes personatus), a critical forage fish of the region. Little is known of the dynamics of these sand waves and the stability of the PSL sub-tidal habitats. Therefore, we have undertaken an initial investigation to determine the dynamic conditions of a well-known PSL habitat in the San Juan Channel within the Archipelago using bottom sediment sampling, an acoustical doppler current profiling (ADCP) system, and multi-beam echo sounder (MBES) bathymetry. Our study indicates that the San Juan Channel sand wave field maintained its shape and bedforms geometry throughout the years it has been studied. Based on bed phase diagrams for channelized bedforms, the sand waves appear to be in a dynamic equilibrium condition. Sea level rise may change the current regime within the Archipelago and may alter some of the deep-water or sub-tidal PSL habitats mapped there. Our findings have global significance in that these dynamic bedforms that harbor PSL and sand-eels elsewhere along the west coast of North America and in the North Sea may also be in a marginally dynamic equilibrium condition and may be prone to alteration by sea level rise, indicating an urgency in locating and investigating these habitats in order to sustain the forage fish. View Full-Text
Keywords: bedforms; forage fish; Pacific sand lance; sediment habitats; bathymetry; currents bedforms; forage fish; Pacific sand lance; sediment habitats; bathymetry; currents
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Greene, H.G.; Cacchione, D.A.; Hampton, M.A. Characteristics and Dynamics of a Large Sub-Tidal Sand Wave Field—Habitat for Pacific Sand Lance (Ammodytes personatus), Salish Sea, Washington, USA. Geosciences 2017, 7, 107.

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